Category Archives: Mr. Adair’s Classroom

“Where do we begin Mr. Adair?”

“At the beginning, ” he said. And throughout the year that I was under his tutelage – he would continue to challenge me to, “Never stop searching for truth.” In this endeavor, we provide – once again – the writings of many writers – many of whom I have known for years – providing historical lessons of import and understanding – little of which is addressed in our “classrooms” today.

Lincoln: The Scumafied Nation-splitter

Lincoln is portrayed as meek and ineffectual in his prosecution of the war. In a wooded scene Lincoln, here in the character of an Irish sportsman in knee-breeches, discharges his blunderbuss at a small bird “C.S.A.” (Confederate States of America). The bird, perched in a tree at left, is unhurt, but Lincoln falls backward vowing, “Begorra, if ye wor at this end o’ th’ gun, ye wouldn’t flap yer wings that way, ye vill’in!Continue reading

Yeah, this is long, but the bars are closed…

… no concerts going on, and no sports to watch on TV. So you have no excuse to not read something you might learn something from.

I Don’t Know What To Call This Damned Thing (Just Read it Please!!!) ~ Neal

It is sad, (and I was just as guilty of this for a long period of my life), that people exhibit such a lack of interest in the history of their country. This is sad for two reasons; the first being that there is so much to learn from that history, and the second being how relatively easy it is to find that history now that everyone has a portable library in the hand all the time; i.e. their cell phones.

The internet is a vast place, filled with all kinds of things, and without a guide to point you in the right direction it is like walking into a huge library without a librarian, or a card catalogue telling you the location of the book you’re looking for. On top of that, anyone can post anything they want on the internet, (except for death threats or plans to build nuclear weapons), and that gets tossed into the mix; so it’s hard to tell if the information you are getting is accurate or not.

The best way to get at the truth regarding the history of our country, the nature of our Constitution and the men who wrote it, is to go to the horse’s mouth, so to speak; to seek out source documents from the period you are studying. Continue reading

The ‘Civil War’ ~ Medical Care, Battle Wounds, and Disease

The Civil War was fought, claimed the Union army surgeon general, “at the end of the medical Middle Ages.” Little was known about what caused disease, how to stop it from spreading, or how to cure it. Surgical techniques ranged from the barbaric to the barely competent.

A Civil War soldier’s chances of not surviving the war was about one in four. These fallen men were cared for by a woefully underqualifled, understaffed, and undersupplied medical corps. Working against incredible odds, however, the medical corps increased in size, improved its techniques, and gained a greater understanding of medicine and disease every year the war was fought. Continue reading

The Great Webster’s Dictionary Conspiracy

Noah Porter was the editor of the 1864 Webster’s Dictionary. Curiously, he graduated from Yale in 1931 as a member of the infamous Order of the Skull and Bones. After graduation he was a Congregational minister (1836-1846) until becoming a professor of moral philosophy and metaphysics at Yale. He rose to be Yale president in 1871-a post he held until 1886. Porter died in 1891 at age 75 in New Haven, Conn.

In most cases, a dictionary is merely a compendium of word usage. We can expect words like table, chair, glass, tree and beaver-words devoid of political implications-to be defined in keeping with their common usage. However, Joel Rorie, a self-taught lexicographer, has uncovered what can only be described as a dictionary conspiracy. Continue reading

Robert M. T. Hunter, Secretary of State for the Confederacy

On his way down to Montgomery to assume his new role as Secretary of State for the Confederacy in May 1861, Robert Hunter took the opportunity to speak to the crowds at the various train stops; Atlanta was one of them. The Co-Editor of the Southern Confederacy, J. Henly Smith was there to record his comments:

“Our cause, our institutions, our hopes, and our destinies are one. I rejoice to be able today to proclaim to you the union of the South for the sake of the South, and not only for the sake of the South, but for the sake and in the name of liberty – the last refuge of man oppressed, and the hope of the world. I am thoroughly convinced, that, independent of the negro question, we have not left the North any too soon. Compare their Government and its workings, and their institutions with ours! Their ancient safeguards are being trampled underfoot by those now in power; and is done, too, at the behest of their own people. On the other hand, show me a programme or a form of government, which promises more for mankind, or offers greater future security and happiness to the people than the Constitution of the Confederate States! We have everything to hope for and encourage us, in upholding it.
Continue reading

Remember the Alamo… Correctly

To us Texans, the Alamo is a symbol of how we value freedom and liberty. William Travis, Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and the other Alamo defenders were heroes because they valued the liberty of their countrymen and land above their own lives.

A famous legend about the Alamo entered Texan folklore a few weeks after the notorious siege. Around April of 1836, Santa Anna was fed up with resistance from freedom fighters. To stomp out this lingering flame, he sent a message to his troops in San Antonio, ordering them to burn the mission to the ground. But when his soldiers approached the Alamo, they met a ghastly surprise. Continue reading

State Compares Alamo Cenotaph to Confederate Monuments

The ghosts of old battles still haunt the Alamo.

An underdog Indian tribe has joined the progeny of warriors in court to fight George P. Bush for the shrine of Texas liberty. The city’s controversial Alamo redesign plan, a mixed bag of ideas that includes moving the cenotaph off the grounds, has been slowed by an unlikely coalition of Native Americans and preservationists held together by a common ancestry of war. Both groups argue that the mission grounds are a graveyard, protected by state law, with the cenotaph acting as a headstone. United in court, they face Mayor Ron Nirenberg, General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush and the increasingly foreign management of the embattled mission.

For descendants of the Alamo fighters like preservationist Lee Spencer White, the battle is personal. Continue reading

The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890

~ Prologue ~
The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 was the first measure passed by the U.S. Congress to prohibit trusts. It was named for Senator John Sherman of Ohio, who was a chairman of the Senate finance committee and the Secretary of the Treasury under President Hayes. Several states had passed similar laws, but they were limited to intrastate businesses. The Sherman Antitrust Act was based on the constitutional power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce. (For more background, see previous milestone documents: The Constitution of the united States, Gibbons v. Ogden, and the Interstate Commerce Act.) The Sherman Anti-Trust Act passed the Senate by a vote of 51–1 on April 8, 1890, and the House by a unanimous vote of 242–0 on June 20, 1890. President Benjamin Harrison signed the bill into law on July 2, 1890. Continue reading

Restored and Vindicated: The Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1864

1864 Virginia Constitutional Convention

The Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1864, called by the loyal Restored government meeting in Alexandria during the American Civil War (1861–1865), adopted the Constitution of 1864, which finally accomplished a number of changes that reformers had agitated for since at least the 1820s. It abolished slavery, provided a way of funding primary and free schools, and required voting by paper ballot for state officers and members of the General Assembly. It also put an end to longstanding friction over regional differences by recognizing the creation of West Virginia as a separate state. Members of the convention proclaimed the new constitution in effect, rather than submitting it to voters for approval in a popular referendum. Initially only the areas of northern and eastern Virginia then under Union control recognized the authority of the Constitution of 1864, but after the fall of the Confederacy in May 1865 it became effective for all of Virginia and remained in effect until July 1869. Continue reading

The Confederate Dead

The scars left by civil war soon heal and fade away, as does the memory of the privations and sufferings which it entailed. The angry controversies which precede and the bitterness which follows pass away with the generation whose quarrels necessitated the stern arbitrament of war. New generations of people of the same blood come together as companions in the same walks of life, and join together in the same aims, aspirations, and ambitions, forgetful or regardless of the quarrel which divided their fathers, the causes for which have passed into history. Continue reading

Br’er Rabbit: The Beginning of the End For Liberty

The other night someone asked me an interesting question; they asked me how much longer I thought America has until it collapses. I told the person who asked me that I’m not very good at making estimates like that, but that I think we’re pretty close to it happening. I guess, however, that question stuck in my head; for when I awoke this morning I had all kinds of stuff floating around in there related to that question… Continue reading

America Isn’t a Democracy…

During President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial, we’ll hear a lot of talk about our rules for governing. One frequent claim is that our nation is a democracy. If we’ve become a democracy, it would represent a deep betrayal of our founders, who saw democracy as another form of tyranny. In fact, the word democracy appears nowhere in our nation’s two most fundamental documents, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The founders laid the ground rules for a republic as written in the Constitution’s Article IV, Section 4, which guarantees “to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.” Continue reading

Mission San Antonio de Valero

The Alamo was a mission founded in 1718. It ceased to function as a church in 1793. At the time of the famous siege the mission chapel was a roofless ruin, but a high rock wall about three feet thick enclosed an area around the chapel large enough to accommodate 1,000 men. Within that enclosure the battle of the Alamo was fought, with a last stand in the chapel. Continue reading

Lt. Col. William Barret Travis ~ February 24, 1836

“I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch”

On February 23, the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, Texas had been besieged by Mexican forces led by General Antonio López de Santa Anna. Fearing that his small group of men could not withstand an assault, Travis wrote this letter seeking reinforcements and supplies from supporters. The letter closes with Travis’s vow of “Victory or Death!” – an emotion, which has been both praised and derided by historians. Continue reading

Emma Goldman ~ “Patriotism – a menace to liberty.”

~ Prologue ~
The contention that patriotism is a poison for the minds of free men is the keynote of a recent speech successfully delivered before audiences across the country by Miss Emma Goldman, the Russian immigrant who has become one of the leading voices of anarchism, permitted free rein under the liberties of her adopted country.

Miss Goldman, at age 46, is a well educated Russian woman who came to the United States in 1886 and, after a preliminary period of hard labor in the looms and mills of New York and New England, turned to the movement of radicals that preaches the total destruction of organized society as the means of “freeing” individuals.

She is notable as an anachronism in American development, gaining vast audiences for her spell-binding talks, primarily from amongst the more recently arrived immigrant groups, who are apparently are entertained by her ideas, but who, with few exceptions go from her meetings back to their jobs and their sober political beliefs. Continue reading

Sam Houston and Texas Secession

Lincoln, under no circumstances, would I vote for … So, I say, stand by the ‘Constitution and the Union’, and so long as the laws are enacted and administered according to the Constitution we are safe …“ (emphasis added) Letter from Sam Houston to Colonel A. Daly, August 14, 1860

The 1860 Election was still 3 months in the future and Houston had no inclination to pre-judge the new sectarian party that might be brought to power in Washington City. He was wrapping himself, as he always did, with a Jeffersonian understanding of constitutional liberty and wanted Texas protected by that same banner of Law. He was clear-sighted what might happen but remained a Jacksonian Dreamer. He knew the cherished Union of Jackson and his forefathers. Their dreams embodied his. Continue reading

Merely the Caretaker…

It was… maybe 48 years ago – 1972…

Cover, Recollections and Letters, 1st Edition, 1903

We had been married for about two years, and I was a sales representative at a Volkswagen dealership in Evanston, Illinois. The owners name was Herman Eberhardt. Older buildings, and the dealership was split, with the body and paint shop on the (appropriately) South side of the lot – and that is where the treasure was to be found…

I have told my story many times in the past, but will share the basis of it once more, so that you will understand the (personal) significance of my discovery.

It was 1958 and that year I attended the Crestwood Elementary School in Northbrook, Illinois. It was this one fortuitous year that I would receive the greatest gift of my ‘formal’ education – a year to remember for many reasons – chiefly among them was my teacher – Donald Adair. Continue reading